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Collagen for gut health: Does it help?

We normally think of collagen as being good for the skin. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg as far as the health benefits of collagen are concerned. Because it makes up to 90% of all the connective tissue in the body, collagen is a hugely important structural component throughout the body and nowhere more so than all the way along the digestive system.

Marine Collagen takes a multi-pronged approach to gut health. Your gut wall, the barrier between the inside of your body and the gut, is only one cell thick. It’s extremely fragile and easily damaged by inflammation, some medications or food sensitivities, which can cause microscopic holes in the gut wall known as leaky gut. Leaky gut can lead to all sorts of problems from tiredness, headaches, skin conditions or even autoimmune issues.

Collagen and gut health: What's the link?

Collagen is a key component of the gut lining, and a large part of that is one particular amino acid “glycine”. It’s glycine that maintains the integrity of the gut wall as well as playing an important part in fat digestion and detoxification.

Collagen is also well known as a ‘peptogenic’, it can help support the symptoms of ulcers and too much acidity. Research has actually found that levels of serum Collagen are lower in patients with ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases. And it doesn’t just stay there. That inflammation can work its way to the joints and skin, potentially triggering swelling, arthritis and several skin conditions including rosacea and dermatitis. 

collagen leaky gut

Diagram: The difference between the gut lining of someone with and without leaky gut aka intestinal permeability

The benefits of Collagen for gut health

Collagen and the gut lining

In nature, collagen occurs in the bones and skin of all animal products. This is one of the reasons that homemade chicken soup, or a lovely bone broth can be so comforting when we’ve had an upset stomach or food poisoning episode. The natural collagen helps soothe the stomach and restore the irritated gut lining. In terms of the actual amino acids, it’s the glycine and proline that have the strongest healing effects for the gut wall and stomach lining.

Besides supporting the actual intestinal structure, collagen has other beneficial effects for digestion as well.

Collagen and leaky gut

Many digestive problems arise when the gut lining becomes more permeable than it should be, otherwise known as leaky gut. It’s a bit like having a mosquito screen that’s become torn in a few places. It starts to let things through that we don’t want. In the case of the gut, we’re talking about proteins, particles and toxins that start to pass from the digestive tract into the bloodstream, where they can provoke the immune system into responding with an inflammatory cascade. This is often the reason behind IBS and other gut issues.

If leaky gut is a problem for you, energy levels may suffer as well. The increased permeability of the gut wall can also alter nutrient absorption, making it harder for you to get the vitamins and minerals you need even if you’re eating a healthy diet. You could literally be eating the best diet in the world, but if your gut is compromised, a lot of those nutrients will just not be getting through to where they’re needed. 

Many people find that digestive issues increase as they age and the decline in collagen production may be a factor in this. We produce all the collagen we need up until our mid 20s but after that production starts to slow down year on year. By the time we’re in our 50s or so, we’re trying to maintain our skin, organs and internal surfaces with only one third of our original collagen production. 

Taking a good hydrolysed marine collagen supplement can help replace some of that lost collagen. Interestingly, by taking collagen with vitamin C, you also stimulate the body’s own production of both collagen and elastin. So it’s a win-win.

Collagen and digestion

It can help regulate the secretion of stomach acid and gastric juices. Again, it’s the amino acid glycine that is vital and has been shown to inhibit the growth of stress ulcers and protect against gastric lesions. It does this by attracting both acidic molecules and water as it moves down through the intestinal tract, helping with both digestion and transit time.

By ‘healing and sealing’ the gut, there are many knock-on effects for health. The immune system is strengthened as over three quarters of our whole immune system resides in the gut. The amino acid glutamine, abundant in collagen, plays a crucial role here. 

The gut and the immune system

Having a strong gut lining means those that live there flourish as well, which is another reason the immune system is strengthened. We’re talking about the important and beneficial colony of microorganisms that lives in the large intestine known as the microbiota. Studies have shown that supplementing with collagen induces an increase in beneficial strains of bacteria as well as an increased production of butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that supports gut health and reduces inflammation.

The gut-brain axis

These bacteria in our gut are crucial for not only how well our body digests, absorbs and even synthesises certain nutrients, their composition and health affects our mental health and energy levels. If your bacteria aren’t happy, chances are you won’t be either. 

Why is Marine Collagen the best for gut health?

Marine collagen supplements are the smart choice to support your gut whether you’re suffering from leaky gut, IBS, finding that more foods are irritating you these days, or just thinking about preventing any of these from happening. 

Marine collagen comes from type 1 collagen, which makes up over 90% of the collagen in the human body. It's also the most important collagen for healing, making it particularly beneficial in digestive issues like leaky gut.

By strengthening your gut lining with daily marine collagen sachets, you can support your digestive health from the inside out.

With any luck you’ll soon notice your energy levels and immune system improving along with your gut health as the revitalised microbiome and increased nutrient absorption start to take effect.

References

  1. Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease

  2. The Role of Extracellular Matrix Components in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

  3. Role of ascorbic acid in procollagen expression and secretion by human intestinal smooth muscle cells

  4. Studies on the antisecretory, gastric anti-ulcer and cytoprotective properties of glycine

  5. Water structuring and collagen absorption hydrophilic and hydrophobic silicon surfaces

  6. The roles of glutamine in the intestine and its implication in intestinal diseases

  7. The role of dietary proteins and carbohydrates in gut microbiome composition and activity: A review

  8. Effects of fish protein with glycation extent on gut microbiota and colonic barrier function in mice fed a high-fat diet

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